Delivery workers move to other jobs

Bangalore Top Story

Swiggy suspended its Swiggy Genie service yesterday due to a workforce shortage

If you were not able to urgently send or receive an item like you always do through Swiggy Genie, here is the reason—Swiggy suspended its services yesterday across major metros as it struggles to retain and hire workers.

Swiggy Genie is a service that offers to pick up and drop goods from anywhere in the city. The service was available in 65 cities. However, Swiggy suspended the service yesterday in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad due to shortage of delivery workforce, reports said.

Shaik Salauddin, the National General Secretary of the Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT), said, “We are shifting jobs to go to companies such as Rapido, Uber, Ola and other bike taxis that do not have the urgent timely demand that Swiggy Genie requires,” he added.

The introduction of time targets such as swift delivery in 10 minutes has compromised worker safety and led to a rise in accidents, said Salauddin. “Such targets are not there with other services such as Rapido so we would obviously want to work in those places,” he added. In fact, some reports have said that delivery workers were banned from work when they  could not deliver a package on time after they got into a minor accident.

Workers have also reported a drop in earnings as they are now not paid for the waiting time at restaurants and for the pickup distance between the worker’s house and the restaurant.

This also affects their ranking on the food delivery app, said Dathathreya Raji, president of Delivery Boys Welfare Association (DBWA). “We are moving to other services because their models are more beneficial,” he added.

There is another threat to delivery boys’ jobs.

Reports stated that food delivery companies like Swiggy are thinking of using drones for delivery purposes. In fact, Swiggy has already started drone trials  in Bengaluru and aims to achieve last mile delivery. “The company just has to show that the workforce is less so that they can get permission from the government for use of drones and they are doing exactly that,” said Salauddin.

Customers also took to Twitter to complain about the disruption in services.

A Swiggy spokesperson said that they hope to resume Swiggy Genie in the impacted cities soon.

“Swiggy Genie is temporarily unavailable in 3 out of the 68 cities that it operates in . The cricketing and festive season has resulted in a surge in demand for servicing the requirements for both the food marketplace and Instamart, requiring us to prioritise these deliveries accordingly,” the spokesperson said.

Experts have said that the new labour codes favour the employers instead of the workers. “According to the Private Bill, the Code on Wages which was brought in to repeal the earlier Acts, takes away the protection that was accorded to workers under the previous legislation,” Anagha Kulkarni, a lawyer said. She added that these workers have been excluded from the definition of ‘employee’ and are left at the mercy of employers for their wages.